Move people, not cars: The intersection of healthy communities and transportation choices

Utah is experiencing significant growth. We have the fastest growing economy in the country, with low unemployment and a high rate of job creation.

We are doubling in population, with analysts projecting that we will add a city the size of Taylorsville to our state every year for the next 40 years.

While our growth is impressive, equally important to our state’s continued success is how we grow. Through our work with transportation partners and local communities, we know that how our communities are planned, designed, and built has a direct impact on health and well-being. As we plan for this growth, the state is shifting its focus to measure success by moving people, not cars. This expands the conversation about transportation to include not only driving but also transit, biking, and walking.

UDOT has developed theMove Utah program to support this new focus. The program provides local communities across the state with support and guidance as they plan, develop policies, and build infrastructure that supports biking and walking. UDOT enjoys strong partnerships with the Wasatch Front Regional Council, the Mountainland Association of Governments, the Utah Department of Health, the Department of Public Safety, Bike Utah, the Utah Highway Patrol, and many others. Together, these agencies are looking at ways to make transportation an integral part of a healthy lifestyle.

Move Utah is supported by a team of active transportation experts and provides technical support, resources, and funding opportunities at no cost to local communities to help them build a solid foundation for biking and walking. The program uses a context-sensitive planning approach that includes engaging with diverse stakeholders through the following strategies:

  • Emphasize integrated transportation planning
  • Identify benefits of health and activity
  • Improve quality of life for communities
  • Support law enforcement through education
  • Encourage respect between roadway users

UDOT, in conjunction with several program partners, is hosting the inaugural Move Utah Summit to provide the only event in the state that brings together health and transportation experts, local and state officials, community leaders, and others to discuss the (literal and figurative) intersection of health and well-being.

Join us on Wednesday, Sept. 26 at the Little America hotel from 7:30 am to 4:00 pm. Register to participate in this unique opportunity to learn from industry experts and local officials regarding how you can make a difference in your own community and Keep Utah Moving.

Heidi Goedhart is the Move Utah Program Director and Active Transportation Manager for the Utah Department of Transportation. As a full-time bicycle commuter, Heidi works with communities across the state on their active transportation needs and priorities.